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CRIME

Germany to investigate suspected 417 km/h Autobahn racer

Car-mad Germany may be known for its speed limit-less Autobahns, but a Czech businessman's suspected 417 kilometre-per-hour (260 mph) drag down a stretch of motorway has run into trouble with local law enforcement.

A sports car speeds down the Autobahn
A racing car speeds down the Autobahn. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Maserati | Lorenzo Marcinno

The prosecutor’s office in Stendal in the northern state of Saxony-Anhalt said it had launched a probe into a potential illegal race over the incident.

The wealthy sports car owner from the Czech Republic posted videos of the drive in a Bugatti Chiron on YouTube, bringing attention to the incident.

“We thank God for the safety and good circumstances”, Radim Passer wrote in the video description on his channel.

Some of the videos display a virtual speedometer which reaches 417 km/h on a stretch of motorway between Berlin and Magdeburg, to the west of the capital.

READ ALSO: German Autobahns to remain speeders’ paradise as parties rule out limits

While the recordings were made in the middle of last year, the videos were only recently posted online but have since been viewed millions of times.

In response to comments that said the drive was irresponsible and dangerous, Passer said he had had “good visibility” and highlighted his Bugatti’s braking power.

Highway police initiated an investigation after the feat was reported widely across different media.

The results were handed over to the prosecutor’s office, which began a legal assessment of the incident.

According to the criminal code, a solo drive can still be classed as a prohibited race if the driver “advances at an inappropriate speed and in a manner that grossly violates the traffic code and is reckless.”

Germany’s Transport Minister Volker Wissing condemned the driver’s attitude, noting that while there is no speed limit, the car should always be “under control”.

Others have used the incident to make the case for introducing a legal limit, including the premier of Lower Saxony state, Stephan Weil, who told Spiegel magazine there were “many good reasons” to cap speed on motorways, including the environment and safety.

READ ALSO: Majority of Germans ‘want Autobahn speed limit’

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CRIME

Germany arrests Ukrainian and Russian on spying charges

German prosecutors said Friday they had arrested three men -- a Russian, a Ukrainian and an Armenian -- on suspicion of spying for a foreign intelligence service.

Germany arrests Ukrainian and Russian on spying charges

They were arrested in the western city of Frankfurt on Wednesday after allegedly trying “to gather information about a Ukrainian national”, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

The men were only identified as Robert A. from Ukraine, Vardges I. from Armenia and Russian citizen Arman Sm.

“The three suspects were acting on behalf of a foreign intelligence service in Germany,” the statement said.

On June 19 the trio “scouted a cafe in Frankfurt am Main where the target person was thought to be”, it added.

Prosecutors did not specify which foreign secret service the men were allegedly working for, and declined to comment further when contacted by AFP.

According to Germany’s Der Spiegel weekly, the suspects were acting on behalf of Russia.

The Ukrainian target alerted the police himself, Spiegel added, citing security sources. He reportedly became suspicious after the trio made contact with him and suggested meeting at the cafe.

READ ALSO: German ex-soldier found guilty of spying for Russia

Germany has uncovered numerous espionage cases on its soil since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

A former German intelligence officer is currently on trial in Berlin, accused of handing information to Moscow that showed Germany had access to details of Russian mercenary operations in Ukraine. He denies the charges.

Last month, a German former soldier was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for sharing secret military information with Russia in the wake of the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Russian authorities for their part have levelled treason charges against dozens of people accused of aiding Ukraine and the West since the invasion.

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